Saturday, 13 October 2007

IIT versus Rest of us; the Commoners

Swami Gulagulaananda says:

"As you sow, so shalt you reap; But the farmer should be blamed for the crop so cheap"

[Cheap here means low quality, not low price]

I had been to IIT Madras recently to attend their technical fest "Shaastra". I had heard a lot about IITs, but this was the first time I was visiting one. The IIT campus is really large - well, the campus is three kilometres from the main gate of IIT; there are deer on the campus freely roaming around along with students; and they use electric buses to move from one place to another.

I was really flabbergasted - that's the only word I can use here, because of the stark contrast between the IIT and my college which ranks number two (some say one) in my state - my college campus is smaller than the boys hostel area of IIT Madras !!! That's right, you read it correctly... I was just standing there looking at the hostel buildings, each one looks like the multi-storeyed apartments in Bangalore city. And there are multiples of such buildings.

The IIT style of life is something remarkable, as of what I saw, and is totally different from the boring ordinary lives of the rest of us, the commoners. They live in a small city of their own that has everything you can think of - except maybe an amusement park . They have gym with loud music open twenty four hours; go ahead and ask who would go to the gym past midnight? Well, if you'd seen what I did, you wouldn't ask that question. I was walking on the campus with my friends at 3 am discussing about our project, and I see the IITians casually cycling there. 2 am next day - still cycling or walking or relaxing on lawns or talking with friends. 4 am still the same... I really couldn't understand - All through the night, their lights on, and I mean the lights of the whole hostel block. They are active at night and active in the morning (Although I am pretty much sure they aren't the same lot hehehe but still....)

Apparently their labs are open 24 hours, and then we started comparing our college with IIT and saw the large gap that existed. Our lab attender cribs and yells at us all the time when we ask for working for one and a half hours after normal classes, and sends us home; or even worse, switches off main power and says - "No power, come tomorrow". Their hostel mess food is really good, as compared to our college mess food. Our library spans across one full floor, IIT has a large building with multiple floors...

Our college director made it very clear to all of us that we have deserved what we have got and vice versa; saying that if we were better we should have been in the IIT. I strongly disagree with that, because it appears he is limiting our growth by saying that. Tomorrow, we and the mighty IITians will be fighting the battles on the same grounds, and our director is making sure we all get old and rusty weapons as against cutting edge technology as LASER weapons of the IITians who'll melt us before we even realize who's standing where.

Our project was a robotics one, and in the process, the amount of things that we learnt was far higher and more useful than what I seem to have learnt in two years of college. Our university limits us to only theory - we had a wonderful subject called Field theory; What's wonderful about it? The teacher doesn't know it, the students don't know it, students still continue to ace in the exams and don't realize what they have been calculating and scoring 90% marks, and why? That's because none of us know the applications, we can't see it, we can't feel it, we can't visualize it. So that's all... God save the subject.

I strongly feel that unless you do something practically, you won't have the proper grasp of the subject, no matter how much theory you have mastered. And if we have to fight the IITians and give them a run for their money, then we have to embark on journeys beyond our "syllabus". The so called toppers of our college are worse than the failures of IIT looking at the number of things that they do - Not because our toppers lack brains, but because we lack the proper guidance and setup. The system needs to be changed. We should be given more space to expand. Our HOD refused to even let us take an equipment although we were doing something really nice - something out of syllabus - That shows why we are bound and limited, our wings clipped before we even check if they are okay to be spread.

Thus, with this small comparison, I am confident I have convinced you why IITians are what they are, why they are valued so much (because they are given a chance to pursue what they want to, and are improvised on their interests and strong points) and why we are still - THE COMMONERS

Instead of focusing on the important aspects, our college decides to waste time by making silly "legislations" which are non existent in IIT - no wearing round neck T-shirts, compulsory wearing ID cards, and having security guards everywhere to drive us around like sheep...

It's refreshing to be writing again . People, gear up, it's time for a revolution


yogish said...

Read one entire entry in ur blog today. totally agree with u.planning to follow ur blog from now on.great stuff.but i wud ask u to focus more on the education/technology aspect;bcoz i went thru all entries of ur blog,and found this and the one on galaxy 3 review interesting.

Nik said...

Thanks a lot Yogish! :-) I write about totally random things, some people hate some of it and love some of it :P So, it's fun to receive compliments and brick bats :-)